The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has stepped up their spooky game at this year’s “wicked as you wish” themed Spooktacular, presented by Aquafina. You can experience the 35th annual Spooktacular each Thursday – Sunday leading up to Halloween and on Halloween night, October 14-16, 20-23 & 27 – 31. The zoo closes at 5PM and then the spooks come out at night when the event starts at 5:30.
Jacksonville Zoo Spooktacular 2022
The Spooktacular at the Jacksonville Zoo has been my favorite Halloween event so far. They did an amazing job with the decorations, games, candy stations, music and more! It’s fun for all ages, and both kids and adults can get into the spirit of things and dress up, although they request adults to not wear full face covering masks.
They have handy drink stations (beer & wine) around the zoo for adults, and plenty of candy stations for the kids trick-or-treating. Some of the animals have gone to bed for the night, but there are still plenty of things to see and do. The train isn’t running, but the carousel is, and the playground is open.
And Halloween is everywhere you look, up and down, in the trees, in the plants and even on the statues! The have several neat animatronic displays, and the zoo workers are dressed up in costume too.
The Scare Zone
While the event is suitable for all ages, there is a slightly more scary area in the back of the zoo where the butterfly garden and Asian gardens are located. It’s spooky and dark and crawling with creepy monsters!
They have someone warning you as you walk in that it may be too scary for kids under 13, but my brave little guy wanted to see it all, so we braved the haunted bamboo forest and found some pretty scary creatures.
I highly recommend checking out the Jacksonville Zoo Spooktacular before it’s gone! You can get more info and tickets on their website: https://www.jacksonvillezoo.org/spooktacular
Tickets are $35 for non-members, but you can save $5 by purchasing them online in advance. Kids can bring their own container to collects treats in, but if they forget then they can get a free bag at the front. And be ready to have a spooktacular time!
Check out this Instagram Reel of our visit:
About the Author
Candy Keane is a digital content creator and long-time cosplayer, most well-known for being on the cover of the Star Wars documentary Jedi Junkies. After making costumes professionally for over a decade, she now writes about about geek culture and mom life, and continues to cosplay for fun, while sharing her love of costumes on Instagram @SewGeekMama. Her first children’s book, I’m Going to My First Comic Convention, was published in 2020 and won a Story Monsters Approved award for Excellence in Literature.